Wednesday, June 21, 2017

7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer

It's that time of the year. Kids are out of school. The sun makes regular appearances. Everyone has the urge to get out and enjoy it.

Well, everyone except for me. I'm hunkering down with my air conditioning, refrigerated foods, and a few good books...around the screaming of kids. If you're doing the same, here are a few quick tips to help make your summer stellar: 

1. Who really needs anything more?


2. Hit the pool.


3. Pick summer vacation destinations that make you feel summery.


4. Don't stay out in the sun too long.


5. Don't get in over your head.


6. Try out a new adventure...but preferably of the less dangerous variety.

And 

7. Read a good book, or fifty.


As of this post, I'm cutting back to one post a month until...well, until there's sanity. Wish me luck with home schooling and surviving this pregnancy!


Two weeks ago, Theresa Milstein shared TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCE along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed was entered to win an ebook or print copy.

The game:


1. Right after college, I landed a job as a make a makeup artist at Macy's, Herald Square, New York City. This led to a year doing makeup for a few shows on The Food Network. 

2. During the summer, I worked as a carney in the game booths on Long Island. I hated working the fixed games, though I hated running the sticky cotton candy booth even more.

3. One semester, I interned with a U.S. Congressman in New York, which meant handling a lot of angry phone calls, looking up data, tracking potholes, and attending events.

The lie: #1. 

From Theresa: My sister, Kathleen Brown, actually did some makeup for fellow cast members when she performed plays at a local theater during college. Afterwards, someone recommended her for a makeup gig. She faked it until she made it. Now she gets to do makeup on TV shows (including the Food Network) and movies on a regular basis. She gets to meet celebrities all the time. Pretty cool, huh? However, she does credit me for teaching her how to apply makeup when she was a teen in the first place. 

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Jennifer!

SPEAKING OF SUMMER, now, for a WONDERFUL contemporary you don't want to miss this summer that I LOVED! (I even reviewed it!):

Who would have thought that a teenager could have a successful career creating makeup tutorial videos on YouTube? For Lacey Robbins, this dream has been her reality. An up-and-coming YouTuber, she has thousands of fans and can't wait for the day when her subscriber count reaches the one million mark. And when she is offered a high school internship at On Trend Magazine, she figures that this could be the make it or break it moment.

But sometimes your dream job isn't all that it seems. Her editor is only interested in promoting junk products, and her boss in the Hair and Makeup department introduces her to the larger world of makeup artistry, making her wonder if making tutorials online is all she is meant to do. To top it all off, when the magazine's feature subject, musician Tyler Lance, turns his broodingly handsome smile her way, falling for him could mean losing her fans, forcing her to make a decision: her YouTube life or her real life?

Fans of Zoella's GIRL ONLINE will fall right into the world of this YA DEVIL WEARS PRADA and stay hooked from the first blush to the last glossy kiss.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author?

Beth Ellyn Summer writes contemporary young adult fiction that somehow always includes the following elements: fame, makeup, and television. She graduated from Long Island University with a degree in Print and Electronic Journalism. Interning for Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon was the highlight of her college years. When she's not writing, Beth can be found swatching eyeshadows, solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles, and playing with her adorable cat, Penny Belle. Beth lives on Long Island in a cookie cutter town that, in an ironic twist of fate, doesn't have a single decent bakery.

If she absolutely had to choose only one favorite cheese, then she'd say Parmesan. It's so light and salty and delicious that she usually grates up about four pounds of it on top of her pasta at dinner, or adds it to a salad. Her favorite place to eat Parm (and all cheese, really) is in the kitchen, where she can easily go back for more cheese.

Beth gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win an ebook of AT FIRST BLUSH! (Open internationally.IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE, PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL IT TO crystal@crystal-collier.com WITH YOUR SCREEN ALIAS.

You have until Tuesday, July 4th at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on July 5, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. I really hate movies! So much so that I haven't been to a movie theater in eight years. 

2. I appeared in a Saturday Night Live sketch once as an extra! It was nearly impossible not to laugh, especially around such a brilliant cast, but I kept a straight face.

3. I never learned to ride a bike.

So sleuths, which is the lie? What are your summer cheat/trick/traditions? Have you met Beth? Do you like contemporary stories? Are you going on vacation this year?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How To Sell Time (IWSG & an Announcement!)

If only you had a corner on that market, eh?

The IWSG question this month is a timely one (pun intended):

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

When I was in high school, I backed away from writing for a time. It was a wise decision as it made room for social aspects I would have otherwise missed--including meeting my husband. It wasn't an "I quit" per se, but I never expected to seriously return to writing.

Five years later, when I was married, a college student, and needing some sanity, I pulled out my old notebooks and FINALLY finished my first novel. All 140,000 words of it. (For non writerly types, that's about twice as long as your average book.) Next thing I knew, I'd written a novella that eventually became MOONLESS, then a musical with a full orchestral score, then six other books...

It was the right time for writing.

But, as is inevitable, I've cycled into a new season. All my writerly loves are sitting in their file folders, begging for my attention...and not getting it. There will come a time again when I write as prolifically as before, but right now, I'm consumed with 5 major projects: one in his sophomore year of college at age 16, two of them in 5th and 7th grade home school, one in home preschool, and the last one...

For those of you who may not have seen the announcement:

She even smiled for the picture!!!
The time for writing will come again. For now, I'm a full-time teacher, part time blogger, part time taxi, house keeper, and periodic book reviewer. That'll do, eh?

HUGE thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh
and his cohosts, JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, 
Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!


Three weeks ago, Krystal Jane Ruin shared NO REST FOR THE WICKED along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed was entered to win an AWESOME prize pack.

The game:

1. I once got lost in England, alone, at night, by myself. I was coming back from seeing Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Opera House in London and went out a different exit than planned. I found by way back by following signs for the British Museum as my hotel was off an adjoining street. I only ran into three weirdos.

2. I once got lost in Spain coming back from Castle Alcazar in Segovia. I wandered around the mountains for a couple of hours looking at the pretty scenery before growing tired and taking a trolley to the cemetery across from the hotel, which was the closest he could get me on his route. 

3. I once got lost in Switzerland. I got distracted by the pretty buildings on the way to see the famous Lion Monument in Lucerne. I lost my tour group, and was found by the trip director on my way back to the prison hotel who took me on a walking tour of the city while he ran some errands.

The lie: #2. 

From Krystal: I've never been to Spain, but this exact thing happened to me in Edinburgh. I got turned around after exploring Edinburgh Castle, and the cemetery was across from the dorms we were staying in, not a hotel. I get lost a lot.

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Suzanne!

And now, about selling time:



With subtle wit, and poignant imagery, the unrelenting passage of time connects the vignettes in Theresa Milstein's Time and Circumstance. This reflective collection of real and imagined poetry and prose, speculates on an erratic childhood, the uncertainty of adolescence, and the reality of parenthood, through flashbacks of love lost and found.


"This everyday, why again, sometimes
ignored tune has measured time in notes, 
seconds, minutes, days, years, and so it goes. 
It's a measure of the man he will become."

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author?

Theresa Milstein writes middle grade and YA, but poetry is her secret passion. Vine Leaves Press published her vignette collection, TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE on March 21, 2017. She lives near Boston Massachusetts with her husband, two children, a dog-like cat, and a cat-like dog. For her day job, she works as a special education teacher in a public school, which gives her ample opportunity to observe teens and tweens in their natural habitat.

For Theresa, picking a favorite cheese is like choosing a favorite child ... almost. You might stumble across her eating a soft blue cheese or a gouda with a little crunch, some fresh bread, olives, and wine while hanging out with friends or family who are visiting her home.

Theresa gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win an ebook of TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCE, and if you guess correctly, you will win a SIGNED HARDCOPY! (Open internationally.IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE, PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL IT TO crystal@crystal-collier.com WITH YOUR SCREEN ALIAS.

You have until Tuesday, June 20th at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on June 21, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. Right after college, I landed a job as a make a makeup artist at Macy's, Herald Square, New York City. This led to a year doing makeup for a few shows on The Food Network. 

2. During the summer, I worked as a carney in the game booths on Long Island. I hated working the fixed games, though I hated running the sticky cotton candy booth even more.

3. One semester, I interned with a U.S. Congressman in New York, which meant handling a lot of angry phone calls, looking up data, tracking potholes, and attending events.

So sleuths, which is the lie? What would you do with a spare bottle of time? Have you met Theresa? Do you read poetry? Have you ever quit something you LOVE?